Flickr: Miikka Skaffari
As my students and readers of my blog know, I am passionate about helping people understand, use, and protect their voices.
When I teach group classes on singing and speaking techniques, students often ask me what they can do to keep their voices healthy. Here is the information I give them.
(Please note that these tips apply to singers and speakers.)
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for 64 ounces (or eight 8-ounce glasses) daily. Caffeinated beverages do not count towards this total, but the following beverages do: juice; decaffeinated coffee, soda, and tea; herbal tea; and milk.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. We tend to fall back on bad habits when we’re tired. Getting enough rest will keep your body energized so that it can properly support your voice.
- Practice nasal irrigation by using saline drops or a neti pot. This is especially important if you are prone to allergies or sinus infections.
- Avoid speaking over background noise. We easily learn to “tune out” background noise, but speaking over other sounds can fatigue the voice. Common examples of background noise include talking at parties or restaurants and traveling by car.
- Maintain proper humidity. If the humidity levels in your home or office fall below 40 percent, consider using a humidifier, especially at night. (It is important to use a humidifier that can easily be cleaned, as the bacteria build-up can make you sick.)
- Practice healthy and efficient speaking habits.
- Avoid clearing your throat.
- Get acid reflux treated. Stomach acid can literally burn the vocal cords. See a doctor if you experience reflux several times a week.
- Rest your voice when it feels fatigued. Listen to your body. Warm up your voice before speaking extensively or before singing.
- Avoid excessive use of Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Ibuprofin, Motrin, Anaprox, Naproxin, etc.)
- Practice relaxation techniques if you tend to experience physical tension. Examples include meditation, yoga, visualization, and hypnosis.
- Keep your body strong and flexible and maintain optimal posture. There are many physical disciplines that can help: yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Alexander technique, dance, etc.).
Download my handout Keeping Your Voice Healthy as a PDF.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not constitute medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services. It simply provides general information for educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not consider it a substitute for a consultation with a physician or other healthcare provider.